A Little Pee-Pee Problem
June 02, 2017
By Dafne Greene, Program Manager, Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center
Do you experience incontinence issues when you run, jump, or even laugh? To say that the problem is common is an understatement. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that nearly 50 percent of all women will at some point in their lives contend with urinary incontinence, whether they ever give birth or not. Another study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that at any given time, approximately 25 percent of all women are coping with some form of pelvic floor disorder, including urinary incontinence.
If you’re surprised by those statistics, you are hardly alone. Unless the topic happens to come up in your own pilates or yoga class, how would you know? This “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude isn’t lost on certain instructors who are specialized in women’s health. “People still don’t talk about it — they think they are the only one, and they are just so embarrassed,” says Carol Krucoff, a yoga therapist at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. “You get a group of women to start talking about it, they are really shocked that it happens to practically everyone. I often bring it up in my classes just to show women that it is so common.
Prevalent as occasional incontinence is, however, its only one aspect of pelvic floor dysfunction, the umbrella term for disorders of the pelvic floor muscles. In the case of urinary incontinence, the muscles in the area may have grown weak or hypotonic, usually due to the kind of overstretching that can happen in childbirth. When the muscles are overly tight, or hypertonic, other conditions can result, such as urinary frequency and urgency, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, painful intercourse, lower-back pain, and — in men — prostate problems.
A little “pee-pee problem” probably is related to hypotonic muscles that need strengthening, says Lizanne Pastore, a physical therapist based in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction. It might also be caused by hypertonic muscles that have been tensed to the point of fatigue and give out at just the wrong time.
If you’re suffering from urinary incontinence and aren’t sure whether your problem stems from muscle laxity or hypertonicity (a physical therapist or yoga therapist can make that diagnosis), it pays to find a holistic way of working with the pelvic floor that will benefit those at both ends of the spectrum. Step one is simply building awareness of the muscles in the region. “For many people, the pelvic floor is like a dead zone, “They don’t even know they have it.”
There is no need to suffer in silence from the effects of a weakened pelvic floor. You are not alone and there may be a simple solution.
Advocate Bromenn Health & Fitness Center offers Pelvicore™ Training to help stop the effects of a weakened pelvic floor. Join physical therapists as they lead this exercise class designed to retrain your core and alleviate symptoms of pelvic floor disorders. New moms, athletes, women in menopause, even men — all are welcome! Four-week sessions start the beginning of each month, pre-registration is required, classes are currently being held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00am, but an evening class will be added. For details, check out their website or call 309-433-WELL (9355).
Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center is a medically based fitness facility, located at 1111 Trinity Lane in Bloomington. It is open to anyone, seven days a week, with exercise professionals on staff at all times. The Center includes a warm water hydrotherapy pool, lap pool, group classes, and a 1/12- mile track.
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